The recently described Platanus mexicana var. interior of Nixon & J. M. Poole is critically evaluated. We show that the type of the name P. mexicana, collected by Berlandier in 1827, is virtually identical to morphotypes typically found within the range of P. mexicana var. interior. The reason for the taxonomic confusion is twofold: the variability of the abaxial leaf tomentum across the distribution range of P. mexicana and uncertainties concerning the type locality of P. mexicana. Field observations at the type locality of P. mexicana var. interior and throughout the range of P. mexicana show that the morphotype represented by the holotype is rarely found in the main distribution range of P. mexicana in Veracruz, Puebla, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Our findings are corroborated by the historical evidence: in his “Journey to Mexico”, Berlandier, travelling from Tampico to Mexico City, did not reach the distribution area of P. mexicana var. mexicana in the sense of Nixon & J. M. Poole. This suggests that the holotype of P. mexicana and P. mexicana var. interior originate from the same area (northern Querétaro, northern Hidalgo) and hence, that the latter name is superfluous. The relevance of infraspecific taxa within P. mexicana and their delimitation against closely related taxa to the north is discussed in the light of morphological and recently published genetic evidence from original stands.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1